Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cinemascape

This Thursday I'll be live on air on Eastside 89.7 FM's Cinemascape show. This week I'll be reviewing James Gunn's hommage to the Eighties gore film Slither. The show goes out at 5:30am so if you are in the Sydney area please tune in.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sydney Film Festival 2006 preview

The line up for this year’s Sydney Film Festival has been announced and as always, there is a fantastic variety of films on display. Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoe’s opens festivities and after hearing about the film from David Lightfoot, producer of Greg McClean’s Rogue, it sounds amazing. Paul Greengrass’s already infamous United 93, David Slade’s Hard Candy and Menhaj Huda’s Kidulthood all sound like they will be stirring up a bit of controversy and this years retrospective on Jean-Pierre Melville will give us a welcome opportunity to see Le SamouraĆ­ on the big screen. The Hong Kong Express programme brings us Ronny Yu's Fearless starring Jet Li, anyone who knows me will know how much I love Yu's The Bride With the White Hair so I'm very much looking forward to his return to Hong Kong cinema and the festival also brings back that perrenial action favourite Jackie Chan in The Myth. It will be interesting to see what William. H. Macy makes of the title role of Edmond in Stuart Gordon’s adaptation of the David Mamet play. I saw Kenneth Brannagh play the role in London and it was one of the most astounding and disturbing experiences I have ever had at the theatre. There is, as always, also a fabulous amount of documentaries and world cinema to indulge in. In particular; Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Starfish Hotel from Japan.

On a personal note, Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis will help with the research on my book on Paul Morrissey and last, but by no means least, Ra Choi will be making it’s Australian premiere at the Dendy Opera Quays at 1.15pm Saturday June 10th and 6.00pm Sunday June 11th.

For ticket details and availability check out www.sydneyfilmfestival.org

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Inside Deep Throat review

As this years Sydney Film Festival line-up gets announced I thought I'd look back at one of my favourite films from last years festival. Deep Throat may well be the most successful film of all time. First shown in New Yorks Time Square in 1972 to a shocked and outraged America; the porn film, which cost US$24,000 went on to make over US$600 million around the world. Inside Deep Throat tells the story of the making of Deep Throat and its effect on the American constitution; it was the film that changed the way the world looked at sexuality on the big screen and was the springboard for the sexual revolution of the 70s.

The minute Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato started investigating this fascinating saga they must have known they were on to a winner. The cast and crew of this Mafia financed porn are now an unlikely bunch of tanned lotharios, none of whom have made any money, are delighted to tell their side of the story. Director Gerard Damiano proudly shows off posters for his porn films sitting next to family portraits. Harry Reems, the assistant turned sex star who could allegedly get a hard on at the sound of a movie camera was the first ever actor to be arrested for his art. The film was condemned by the Nixon government and the FBI and proves beyond a doubt that in the States sex and politics are indelibly intertwined. The film is infamous for its female star Linda Lovelace. After the film began to gain notoriety she claimed that she was forced to make the film by her abusive husband, that she was violated in every scene of the film. She became a feminist pioneer and founded the protest group Woman Against Pornography but was flat broke, she only made $1200 for Deep Throat so she eventually returned to the porn industry that she had previously abhorred. We even get introduced to her cat named Adolf Hitler! Bizarrely one of the main reasons for the films phenomenal success was the furore caused by the government when they tried to ban it. You just can't buy that kind of publicity.

Inside Deep Throat is an entertaining and eye opening watch, as director Bailey says these days watching porn is a solitary experience so he wanted to give a modern audience a glimpse into what it was like in the 70s watching a porn film in a packed cinema. When the moment came (excuse the pun) the response from the Sydney Film Festival audience was shock, laughter and gasps; it was a brave move to feature any explicit footage but it works and helps continue the legend of Damiano’s classic piece of 70’s smut.